Mar 28, 2015

My journey to find the perfect note taking solution

Summary: I analyzed and tested several years to find out a perfect note taking system that fits my needs. At last I found that 'Zim Wiki' is perfect one that fits my needs. Please read further about my journey. (It's almost like a spiritual journey).
  • Initially I wrote in a notepad, then in Microsoft word and saved files in a system folder. Then I tried open office and libre office.
  • Looked for an organizer and tried, Keynote, KeynoteNF, Keepnote, Zimwiki, Wikid pad, Flashnote, TreeDB, Right note, Efficient PIM, Scrivener, resoph notes, Evernote and Onenote.
  • Then tried different self hosted Wordpress, Wiki, Drupal and, cloud solutions like drive, etc.
  • After that, tried Simple note with Cinta notes.
  • Plain text files in dropbox folder and finally found Zim Wiki.
Simply, Every application has a lockout, close file format to save all notes in a database file. Ever note, Google docs, Keynote NF, Right note, Scrivener, Flashnote, TreeDB etc.
More and more taking notes, my intention is reduced only to collect notes, completely avoid to read it. There are so many reasons to hesitate to read my notes bunch. Slow booting, Hanging application, Database error, Corrupted database etc.
After all, We need to access all notes in any applications. Android, Mac, Iphone, Tabs, Ubundu...whatever. Otherwise there is no purpose in it. I found Cintanotes is easy to use. I've purchased Cintanotes pro. But once, that's also crashed. And that piece of software is also not saving notes as plain text files.
Keeping all documents as plain text files is one of the popular option today.
Why this happened while there are plenty of software including free?
The reason is, every software fails at least once. It crashes and make all data unavailable. I had similar experience. My note taking applications fails several times. Especially having and managing thousands of notes. If you are a geek, then you don’t have to worry. You know how to backup all data in several locations in cloud as well as physical drives. But That's also taking time. I prefer to focus on productivity.
Taking and storing notes in plain text files is the best solution. It has several advantages:
  • Fast loading
  • Can operate all systems and devices
  • Simplicity
  • Focus on content
  • Searchable
  • Easily synced across devices, via Dropbox or other services
  • Use online or offline
But, there are some disadvantage in keeping all documents in plain text files. That are:
  • You can’t insert hyper links and markdown formats (RTF, Images also).
  • You can’t organize files easily like a software.
  • You have to search in systems searching tools.
Apart from that, everything is fine.
That's the main reason I begin to look for a plain text note taking apps. Several years ago, I used Zim Wiki. Lack of functions and look, I avoid it and began to use Scrivener/ One note.
Last year, I rediscovered Zim Wiki.
It has all my requirements.
  • Tag system
  • Searchable notes
  • Sort and organize like outliner
  • Tree model organizer
  • Distraction free writer
  • Journal app
  • Simple formatting
  • Can attach image
  • And, finally it saves note as a separate plain text note file!!!
  • You can save notebook in dropbox for syncing and can read it on any device.
Go for it and enjoy the most minimalistic writing and reading tool.

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